Calls from the Wilds


* If for any reason this letter does not display properly, you can view the newsletter on our website.

For a downloadable copy of our catalog of reprints or manuals click this link.

* With a deep regret I report the passing of my dear friend Bob Toth of Flat Rock, Michigan. Bob was a long time supporter of my efforts to preserve old firearms catalogs and, over the years, lent me many of his extensive catalog collection to scan and add to my offerings. Anna, his widow, told me that one of Bob's last wishes was for me to inherit his hundreds of old catalogs. What a lovely thought. We picked them up and added a new file cabinet to accommodate the many boxes. I will work through them systematically and add many, many reprints from Bob's generosity.

*Ginny Coombs sent me this email:

Springbrook , Wisconsin

A family that lives on the outskirts of Hayward , Wisconsin decided to build a sturdy, colorful playground for their 3 and 4 year-old sons. They lined the bottom with smooth-stone gravel all around to avoid knee scrapes and other injuries. They finished building it one Friday evening and were very pleased with the end product.

The following morning, the mom was about to wake the boys and have them go out to play in their new play center. This is what she saw from the upstairs window:


* If you missed a newsletter or want to look something up - click here

* This is not a political statement, I just thought it was funny...

Mount Rushmore from the Canadian side:

* Early Gunsmith photo from Dick Carleton:


No hiding place from new U.S. Army rifles that use radio-controlled smart bullets

From London's Daily Mail:

The Pentagon's XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System has a range of roughly 2,300 feet – and is to be deployed in Afghanistan this month (December 2010). The rifle's gunsight uses a laser rangefinder to determine the exact distance to the obstruction, after which the soldier can add or subtract up to 3 metres from that distance to enable the bullets to clear the barrier and explode above or beside the target. Soldiers will be able to use them to target snipers hidden in trenches rather than calling in air strikes. The 25-millimetre round contains a chip that receives a radio signal from the gunsight as to the precise distance to the target.

Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, project manager for the system, described the weapon as a "game-changer" that other nations will try and copy. He expects the Army to buy 12,500 of the XM25 rifles this year, enough for every member of the infantry and special forces. Lehner told Fixed Fox News: "With this weapon system, we take away cover from [enemy targets] forever. Tactics are going to have to be rewritten. The only thing we can see [our enemies] being able to do is run away." Experts say the rifle means that enemy troops will no longer be safe if they take cover.

The XM25 appears perfect weapon for street-to-street fighting that troops in Afghanistan have to engage in, with enemy fighters hiding behind walls and only breaking cover to fire occasionally. The weapon's laser finder would work out how far away the enemy was and then the U.S. soldier would add one metre using a button near the trigger. When fired, the explosive round would carry exactly one metre past the wall and explode with the force of a hand grenade above the Taliban fighter.

The army's project manager for new weapons, Douglas Tamilio, said: ''This is the first leap-ahead technology for troops that we've been able to develop and deploy." A patent granted to the bullet's maker, Alliant Techsystems, reveals that the chip can calculate how far it has travelled. Mr Tamilio said: 'You could shoot a Javelin missile, and it would cost £43,000 [US$69,000]. These rounds will end up costing £15.50 [US$25.00] apiece.

Lehner added: "This is a game-changer. The enemy has learned to get cover, for hundreds if not thousands of years. Well, they can't do that anymore. We're taking that cover from them and there's only two outcomes: We're going to get you behind that cover or force you to flee." The rifle will initially use high-explosive rounds, but its makers say that it might later use versions with smaller explosive charges that aim to stun rather than kill.

The weapon has since seen combat as was reported in this Army Times article (click here)

Guest Column

Mike Carrick has been a long time supporter of our efforts to preserve old gun catalogs and has lent us several really super old catalogs including some old Auto Ordnance catalogs. Mike’s early career included a stint with the George F. Cake company, for decades a noted supplier of police equipment and the source of the Thompson catalogs Mike lent us.

Recently, we had an inquiry about something called a “gas billie”. Well, that reminded Mike of something and he dug out the source of his memory. “Gas billies” were advertised during the 30s, and Mike sent us a couple of early 30s Federal Laboratories catalogs featuring the very items, and from a period when George (known as Jim) Cake represented that company,.

The Federal catalogs are fantastic and not just for gas billies. The 1933 catalog advertises debilitating gas systems for banks, jewelry stores etc. Use of their system would result in "No Shooting in Crowded Lobbys (sic)" with all the patrons, employees and robbers lying prostrate on the floor! They don't mention what would happen when everyone wakes up. The 1934 edition advertised everything from Tommy Guns, fragmentation bombs, aerial bombs, chemical drop bombs, smoke screen devices (using biplanes) to mortars. No well equipped police department should be without an assortment of hardware for emergencies…

The Cake company deserves a brief history ao below I will reprint a portion of an article written by Tracie Hill and Mike Carrick for the American Thompson Association third quarter 2006 Newsletter. Following that is Cake's 2002 obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle.




Reprinted with permission from Mr. Tracie Hill, Editor,

The American Thompson Association Newsletter

October 2006

A while back a manual appeared on Ebay for the Thompson Submachine Gun with an interesting decal applied to the front cover. The manual was the standard green and blue covered manual from the 1930s, but the decal was the interesting part. The description on Ebay stated that the manual was from the George F. Cake Co. and Cake was the California sales representative for Auto-Ordnance in the 1930's.


With the purchase of the manual the hunt began for the information behind the decal. With the help of Mike Carrick and the George Cake’s widow, Dorothy, a very interesting story unfolds. The following letters and documents tell us the story.

(Carrick) These notes were from my conversation with Dorothy Cake on this date. Dorothy will be 99 years old on June 28th of this year. George F. Cake, called "Jim" since his youth, was born in 1904 in the company logging town of McCloud (near Mt. Shasta in Northern California). His father was an accountant for the McCloud River Railroad. They moved to San Francisco in 1906, and after experiencing the big earthquake, hightailed it back to McCloud.

Cake graduated from Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles and took an outside sales job with Hogie's Sporting Goods, covering the northern half of California. In August of 1933, he started as a manufacturer's representative for Alden Glaze (sporting goods?), covering the northern half of California, but living in Los Angeles.

In 1934, Jim made the acquaintance of Joe Roush, who was the first to bring the products of Federal Laboratories to California. During the "Dock Strike Riots" in San Francisco on "Bloody Thursday" May 9, 1934, Joe asked Jim to help him with demonstrations of tear gas and Tommy Guns. Very shortly thereafter, Joe became quite ill, and Jim Cake took over as representative for Federal Laboratories (and thereby, Auto-Ordnance) for the territory of California, Oregon, Arizona and Nevada. In late 1936 he moved from Los Angeles to Berkeley. He worked for Federal from 1934 until he joined the Army in 1942.

(US Army records) George Cake joined the Army in 1942. He eventually ended up in Chemical Warfare section of the First U. S. Army Group in London. This was FUSAG, the outfit that pretended to be mounting an invasion to the northern edge of France.

Later he was in the 12th Army Group and asked to be transferred to a combat division. He joined the 3rd Armored during the last few weeks of the "Bulge" action and stayed with them until discharge. (The Third Armored Divisions history book "Spearhead" continues) G-5, Lt. Col. George Cake, in command of 3rd Armored Division Military Government, helped formulate the American occupational policy in newly conquered German territory. His work set a precedent for later MG officials to study. G-5, as an integral part of the division general staff, was not brought into being until late in the western fighting. Earlier, it was known as the Civil Affairs Sections. Lt. Col. Cake assumed this duty in April 9, 1945. Lt. Col. Cake holds the Bronze Star with cluster, Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster, European Theater of Operations with five battle stars, Victory Medal and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.

(Carrick) When Jim returned from wartime duty, he restarted the George F. Cake Corporation with offices in Los Angeles and Berkeley. In the 1950's and 1960's it was undoubtedly the largest distributor of law enforcement equipment in the west. At this time, he switched from Federal laboratories to Lake Erie Chemical Co. (Lake Erie had been a competitor with Federal Labs since the 1920s. Lake Erie also sold Thompsons through the regional salesman E. E. Richardson, before Auto Ordnance closed all sales except through Federal Labs. in the 1930s. Tracie Hill)

Jim told me that when he moved in the 1960's, he found that he still had the Thompson that he used for his prewar demonstrations. Of course, I asked where it might be at the present, and he said that he gave it to a friend in the FBI to do with as he pleased.

In the book "American Legend," the section of Colt serial numbers lists s/n 14895, as a sales sample for Joseph M. Roush. Now the question is did Joe Ruosh give his sales sample to Jim Cake or did Federal Labs. send another Thompson SMG? We may never know......until perhaps the Thompson resurfaces somewhere.

Mike Carrick also included in with this information a copy of the letter in which this manual was sent to him by Jim Cake and also sent along the following photographs. It just goes to show you that as a collector you sometimes get the most information and thrill from the stories behind items that you find for your collection. Too often these are lost to history. So it is a real pleasure when you can uncover the whole story.

June 11, 2002 | By John Koopman,

San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Berkeley -- George F. "Jim" Cake was never a cop, but he probably saved a lot of cops' lives.

Mr. Cake pioneered a lot of police technology. Gun locks, motorcycles and, most importantly, the plastic shields that separate the front seat and backseat in cop cars.

Mr. Cake, a survivor of the '06 quake who later developed and sold law enforcement equipment to police departments in California and nationwide, died June 4 of congestive heart failure at his home in Roseville. He was 98.

The George F. Cake Co. of Berkeley distributed guns, ammunition, badges, handcuffs, helmets, Mace, sirens and radar guns all over the West, said his grandson, Ken McIntyre of Derwood, Md. Mr. Cake sold everything but the uniform and also taught police officers the use of teargas and submachine guns.

He was the first to install metal detectors at Alcatraz, San Quentin and other prisons in the region.

Mr. Cake was a friend and adviser to Earl Warren and Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, working with both when they were young Northern California district attorneys. McIntyre said Mr. Cake worked with Warren on several investigations and that Brown, when he was governor, asked him to sweep the governor's mansion for surveillance "bugs." He found none.

Mr. Cake was born on Feb. 28, 1904, in Shasta County. His family lived in San Francisco's Sunset District in 1906 when the quake hit, and they stayed in Golden Gate Park for several days. They later moved to Los Angeles.

He got his start in his chosen business in the 1930s when he supplied firearms and teargas to police and sheriff's departments quelling labor unrest in the Central Valley.

Mr. Cake joined the Army during World War II and served with the general staff as the allied forces marched across Europe toward Berlin. A lieutenant colonel, Mr. Cake was credited for his work on policies for the occupation and for quickly returning civilian control after the soldiers moved on.

He moved to Kensington after the war and started his company. He sold it in 1971 but stayed on as company president until 1975, when he and his wife moved to Rossmoor.

He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Dorothy H. Cake of Roseville; daughter Natalie Miller and son-in-law Daniel H. Miller of Rocklin; son-in-law A. Bartley McIntyre of Olney, Md.; five grandchildren, and seven great- grandchildren. His daughter, Virginia McIntyre, died in 1987.

New Books and Special Thanks

You can always see the reprints added during the last six months by clicking on the Recent Additions link to my website. Abby

Many thanks to Fede Graziano from Argentina for most of this month's offerings and Mike Carrick for the nifty Federal catalogs. Next month, which already has catalogs available in the recent additions page, will feature a George Cake police goods catalog from the 60s. By the way, the Russian catalog from 1906 is interesting because it is remarkably similar in content to the Western European and American catalogs of the same era and because it features shotguns from several Belgian and French makers not commonly seen, or at least not identified, in other catalogs.

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Letters from Readers

Dear Abby, I see you have a rather extensive line of Ideal catalogs in your inventory. I'm searching for references on the composition of what was known as Ideal #1 alloy. If one of you books mentions the composition, I'd be happy to purchase said book. Robert Wolfe

Robert, What you are asking is outside of the services I can offer, mainly because I am not a reloader and lack the technical knowledge to find what you are asking me to research. I suggest you contact the International Ammunition Collectors Association. Readers? Cheers, Abby

Dear Abby, I’m trying to find a schmatic for a hopkins and allen xl double action revolver preferably free if i can or mabe you can email it to me if you have one also need to no were i can get parts for this gun thank you glenn cluney

Glenn, You could try the parts houses listed on my website- look near the top, second link from the left. Abby

Dear Abby, I am looking for reloading data for the 7,92x57j cartridge. It is the same as the 8mm Mauser (7,92x57js) only it used .318 bullets and had a maximum velocity of around 2200fps. It was the direct predecessor to the 8mm Mauser (7,92x57js), and was used in the Gewehr 88 and 98. It should be a separate section, or included with the 8mm Mauser data. The 8mm Mauser data should NOT say "not for use with .318 bullets". Please let me know if this manual (Ideal-Lyman 1957 No. 41 Reloading Catalog)has the data for the 7,92x57j, and if so, I will buy it. Thank you very much! Josh Smith, Smith-Sights.com

Josh, There are three pages about the 8 x 57 catridges. The text discussion covers the 57-J, 57-JS, 57-JR, 57-RS, and 57-R as well as the 64 etc. So I assume the charts following them cover each, although I am not a reloader. By the way we also reprint the Speer Wildcat cartridge reloading book of 1959. Abby

Dear Abby, tring to check year and value of a .32 cal double action no6 revolver hopkins & allen fire arms its number is 1564, my neighbor is tring to buy one and he needs help. please write back thank you. Derek T

Derek, I copied this from the website email page where you filled out the form to contact me: We DO NOT sell GUNS or GUN PARTS or offer appraisals or PRICES. Abby

Dear Abby, I have your Marlin 1897/1900 catalogs. Great! In the 1897 book pages 31 & 39 Marlin states: "We publish a book illustrating our different styles of engraving, checking, etc. We will be pleased to mail it on application." Do you have this Marlin book? Please Advise. Thanks, Ron Hampton

Ron, No, I don't think so. Here is a link to all the Marlin publications. You can have a look to see. Also, you might check the indexes of each one in near time to see if they list engraving. Abby

Dear Abby, I have promised you scans of a Lebeau Courally-Webley catalog about a year ago but I have not located it yet. It must be somewhere in my gunroom/office but I put it away carefully so I am still unable to find it. As a small restitution I send you the catalog of guns bought by the Liege Arms Museum at the "1900 Exposition Universelle de Paris". I had to scan it to be able to use it since it is falling apart from acid holding paper. It consists of 12 pages with black and white pictures of the best guns of that year. Imagine a museum in this day and age being able to afford a Purdey, a Holland and Holland, A Westley Richards and more best guns in one year. Best regards, Jan Paul Loeff, France

Dear Jan, I am very grateful. It is only through the efforts of customers like you that I have been able to save so many old catalogs and publications. I now have over 3500 available and with a bit of luck I'll keep at it for some more years. I will also make certain that when I give up museums in several countries have copies of my work. Cheers, Abby

Hi, how many different (Bannerman) books do you have? how much for each? Thnks, steve

Steve, We reprint 11 Bannerman catalogs. See them all at my website. Abby

Dear Abby, Forehand & Wadsworth book by Joe V. How long is the section of the book about the old and the new model army revolvers? Thanks! John Lindly

John, It is four pages. Abby

Dear Abby, I cannot find any information on a shotgun I inherited from my grandfather. perhaps you can tell me where to look. It's a C.J.Gregory sxs damascas barrel hammer shotgun ser # 58707. i have been searching for 10 years now and nobody knows anything about it. Can you direct me? Jeffrey W. Schuler

Jeff, C. J. Gregory was a London maker (Carder: Side by Sides of the World)... gun might have been made in Belgium or at least the barrels? Probably a bit earlier, 1900 to 1914 I'd bet. Check the side-plates for " London Laminated Steel". Abby

Abby, I couldn't be happier, even with this info being uncertain. Like I said I now have a place to start and a tighter search area. Have a wonderful week and I don't know how to stop saying thank you. After 10 years you are the first person to even respond to any inquiry and I think it will really help.

Hi, Bannerman 1936 Surplus Full Catalog- is it possible to order just the pages with the displays? Thanks, steve

Steve, Sure, but it will cost you the same as buying the whole book (in fact I should charge more because it is hard to take things out of sequence or to search for and print specific pages). Abby

Dear Abby, My grandfather passed recently, and I was furtunate enough to inherit a gun from, which he got from his father. It is Savage Arms 22 cal long rifle from 1915. My question is... Is it possible to find an extra clip to fit this model? I have done many Google searches but have been unable to find a clip that seems compatible with this year and model. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much! – Brian Luft

Brian, As it says prominently on our website, we do not sell parts for guns. Try one of these dealers. Abby

Dear Abby, I would like to purchase a copy of your Unertl Scope Instruction Manual. How do I go about this? Kurt

Kurt, I'm not sure what publication you are talking about. We have two Unertl catalogs that give some information about the operation of the scope but not manuals as such (at least I don't think we do). Anyway, when you get to the page of the catalog you want just press the "add to cart" button and follow the directions. Abby

Abby, Just received my Speer Reloading Manual Nr 4 in the mail today and was a little disappointed. My fault I’m sure since I expected a faithful copy of the manual including size. Instead I received a copy that is 8.5 by 11 in. I’m also disappointed in the quality of the manual. On my copy the pages were not squared before bound and as a result the first couple of pages overlap making it a little unsightly not to mention damaging the paper that overlaps. Even though it will get extensive use, I tend to take care of my things and to have it start out looking like this bothers me. I have a copy of the 1973 Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook that I bought on eBay that is a faithful copy to the size, the heavy front and back cover and the binding which is plastic spiral. I paid $20.00 with shipping and thought it was a bargain. It arrived plastic wrapped with no defects. I’m looking for the company that printed it to see if I can get other copies so that I can save my originals. I guess it’s not one of your copies. Thank you, Michael C. Turpen

Mike, I have refunded your payment for the Speer manual because I regret the folded and un-squared pages. As far as the size and binding of the catalog, I honestly thought I had taken care of that with the extensive and specific comments I place with each ad on Ebay. You see, I reprint over 4000 old gun catalogs and it would be quite impossible to match each with period correct paper, binding and size and still sell them for less than the cost of a couple of cups of coffee. Good luck finding the other company that prints the copies of Speers that you like and I hope the refund will pay for one and help put aside your disappointment with my copy. Cheers, Abby

Abby, I wasn't looking for a refund and I have no problem with paying for it. I will be using it so please no refund. I hoped to provide feed back only and not trying to pick your book apart. Expecting the same size as the original was my problem, not yours. I expect to be buying more in the future, I'll just have to raise the shelf height. ;-) Mike

Mike, Thank you for your note but I refunded your money right after I read your note this morning. You see, I have learned from bitter experience that when someone from Ebay complains their ire is often followed immediately by a negative or neutral feedback left for me. Such feedback is very damaging in that sales suffer and advertising costs increase thereby costing all customers more to purchase my reprints. Anyway, it is done now and given that the reprint was defective I certainly don’t feel badly about the action. I might add that Ebay is largely responsible for empowering purchasers to the degree that some folks behave in a most aggressive manner for really no reason. You should read some of the Rants and Raves at my website or in my newsletters.

Thanks Abby. I get your news letter and will buy from your site. Regards, Mike

Sir, Wincherser Model 1894 Catalog - I have a MODEL 1894 1/2 OCTGON BBL .32 WSPL SN#232959 and would like to purchase the catalog for this weapon but am unsure which year to purchase. Please advise. Thank you, SFC Marc J. Wahler Sr

Marc, Your rifle was made in 1901 so the Winchester catalog corresponding is this one. Cheers, Abby

Abby, want a catalog. BRENT WALL

Brent, Gee, that's great! We reprint over 3500 of them, any particular one? Or do you mean our in-house catalog of listing our reprints? If so you can download that at the website, Abby

Hi Abby, I got the balance of my order today and I am very happy with the quality of both the printing and the binding. Everything was as requested and very timely. You could have just held all items until the delayed one was available, though, as I am retired and make it a point to never be impatient anymore (much better for my blood pressure, I find!). Thank you for the quality of the material and the personalized service. It is so nice to deal with an individual as opposed to a large, impersonal corporate culture. You are the epitome of the great American entrepreneurial spirit! I truly thank you and wish you all success. Kerry Anderson

Hi there, I have recently purchased a 12 bore 3" boxlock non-ejector wild-fowling gun by Midland Gun Co., no. 62686 I want to purchase from you the relevant catalogue this gun would have appeared in but I don’t know the date of manufacture for this gun. Can you help?? Regards, Aldo Valle, South Africa

Aldo, I have no serial number information for Midland guns. If you can identify the address on the gun or clearly photo the proof marks, I'll ask around to see if I can help. Abby

Dear Abby, 1917. 1918 Ithaca catalog, S.n. 2806xx indcates '17-'18 mfg of ithacadouble barrel. Catalog? Thanks, Randy Church

Randy, I'm not sure exactly what you are asking but if you want an Ithaca catalog, here is the list of ones we reprint. - You can just click on the year and buy it online. Cheers, Abby

Hi Abby, I was on the ipad and I can't type very well there. Thanks for the quick response. Anyway, the list of Ithica catalogs has them all except for the 1917-1918 versions. Those happen to be the years which the Ithica double barrel that I have was manufactured. So, do you have that catalog unscanned somewhere on a back shelf, I guess is the question. Sorry to be so cryptic in the earlier message. thanks, randy

Randy, No, I'm sorry the ones I have are the ones on the website. I am not even certain that Ithaca issued a catalog during WWI, I would guess the 1919 was made available during 1918 anyway. Another way to look at it is that I understand the 1915 was "circa" meaning, I suppose, it could have been a 1917 or 1918 after all. Anyway the catalogs are substantially the same. Abby

Dear Abby, (with reference to the Visible Loader question in the last newsletter) The Stevens Model 70 and 71 are hard to assemble even with guidance, but for Vern Vandal the reference is Firearms Assembly; The NRA Guide to Rifles and Shotguns Revised and Expanded, Joseph B. Roberts, Jr. Ed., NRA, 1993 pp. 226 & 227. I purchased from Amazon. Thank goodness mine was restored and sold to me finished as the description is a put off. Wayne Mattox

Abby, Ross Seyfried column - I just wanted to ask if Ross will be writing any more columns for the newsletter? Thanks, Doug Hudson

Doug, Ross is involved with running two ranches with thousands of acres to care for right at the moment and is way too busy for me to bug right now. He has, however, promised more words of wisdom as soon as he gets settled. Thanks for asking. Abby

Dear Abby, I was recently given a Savage model 219B and I'm looking for a Repair/service manual for it. Can you point me in the right direction to possibly finding one? Dave Leverenz

Dave, I will try to research your gun. Please tell me approx year, cal/bore, action etc. Abby

Dear Abby, I am looking for a catalog with reload data for the .25-20 single shot. Would like most recent you have because of better probability of listing powders that may still be available today.( Hopefully). I appreciate your time and help, Kerry Anderson

Kerry, I am not an expert on reloading so I would be out of my depth to advise you about reloading manuals. Would you please ask one of the ASSRA members which booklet they recommend? Here is a link to all the reloading material I reprint. Abby

Hi, I'm looking for an owners manual for a Winchester 23 XTR pigeon grade. I couldn't see it in your list. Can you help? Best wishes, Terry Cushion

Terry, What we have listed on the website is what we have available at the moment. Sorry. Abby

Thanks Abby, I wonder if it would be possible to keep my details on record, and notify me if the book becomes available in future. Regards, Terry

Terry, I know this sounds funny but I really can't keep track of all the possible requests people have. You see with over 20,000 customers there is someone who wants just about everything you can imagine. So, what I do is issue a newsletter once a month or so with all the new things I have added. If you subscribe to the newsletter you will know when and if we reprint what you seek. Sorry I can't help more. Best, Abby

Dear Abby, wow, you have quite an amazing collection - thanks for sharing! i'm a graphic designer and am interested in purchasing the attached "Luigi Franchi" Italian advertisements (size: 7.5"w x 10.5"h) or related ephemera in the same style. i was not able to locate these items on your website but did notice that you sell "vintage" gun periodicals ... I'm guessing these ads may have been reproduced in Italian gun magazines circa 1959/1960. have you ever seen these before? if not, would you have any additional information that may lead to me tracking them down - if so, I'd sincerely appreciate any leads you may have. given your expertise and massive collection - i figured if anyone knew of these it may be you! thank you in advance, warm wishes greg

Greg, We do sell some Franchi catalog reproductions on the website but I can't say if they are exactly the same as yours or if they are in the same style, Abby

Dear Abby, looking for info on a hand gun -prairie king hand gun, silver with scroll marks looks like teardrop or flower petels.7 shot 22.grip looks like ivory or maybe bone. could this gun be worth anything, Sally

Sally, Probably not a lot of money, but I am afraid I cannot do appraisals by email, Abby

Hello Abby, I received my shipment today and, frankly, I am both surprised and pleased. I am surprised at the quality of the materials, and pleased at the very quick turn-around on the order. I've recommended your site to my friends. Thanks very much for your help. Fred Wiedner

Thanks Fred, Abby

Hi, I received the book today, The problem was that the USPS left on on my front step and it rained a lot today. The package was soaked and fell apart when I picked up the book. The book itself was soggy even though wrapped in plastic over 1/2 of it is soaked through and the rest is damp and wrinkled. I do not think there is any saving it. Did you insure it..the label is unreadable due to being wet so I cannot read it. Replacement? - kreh2351

Dear Kreh, I’ll be happy to send you another… sorry about the rain! Abby


¿Está buscando las piezas para su pistola? ¿Quieres un manual de la pistola para ello? ¿O es que quieren ver un catálogo de publicidad?. Abby

Dear Abby, I have a Marlin Model 88 22 rifle and I am trying to find a manual that shows disassembly of the rifle. It looks to be fairly simple, but I do not want to end up with a bag of parts! Please let me know if you have anything in your library. Sincerely, David Baker

David, I'm sorry, nothing I have seems to be what you need. Abby

Dear Abby, I have an old shot gun and I would like more info on it. Thank you. Dan Rowland

Dear Dan, Thanks for your note. What you ask is sort of like me saying to you "Dan, I have this old car with four doors, can you tell me about it?" So, if you can give me a little more of a hint about the gun, perhaps I can guide you in the right direction. Abby

Abby, Thanks for getting back to me. I have a 22 Marlin with No 20 as the only numbers or words on it. The Marlin Co. said that the rifle was made between 1904 and 1922. Do you have any sources???? The other is a dble barrel, mussel load in with a jam rod and the only markings on it is P.Powell. I would appreciate and help. We live in New Port Richey, FL Thanks again. Dan Rowland

Dan, You are getting closer but I don't know what you mean by "Do you have any sources????". What exactly are you looking for? We reprint old gun catalogs and can probably sell you reprints featuring the guns you own. Is that what you want? Abby

Abby, Again thanks for the quick return. Yes I would like to buy info on these rifles and find a way to find buyers. Dan Rowland

Dan, The Marlin rifle is featured in the catalogs printed after 1905 (it is not in the 1905 catalog- that was probably printed before the gun was issued). Here is a link to all Marlin catalogs. If you click on an appropriate year you will see on the right an index... look for the Model 20.

The 1874 Powell catalog (and probably other Powell catalogs) has a picture of their muzzle loading double and several pages of specs and options (they were most likely imported from Belgium which had a large cottage industry making shotguns). here is a link the 1874 Powell and other Powell catalogs.

To sell the guns I suggest gunbroker.com or auctionarms.com, prices for the Marlin are probably in the Gun Digest Standard Catalog of Gun Values (look on Ebay for used one a year or two old). The Powell is probably not worth a great deal of money depending on condition and things like checkering and engraving if any. Abby

Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves image

This month's winner is:

Dear Abby. Your (web) page has the following: "I make no effort to use precisely the same paper, covers, inks, or even to duplicate the exact size of the originals. My reprints preserve firearm information only."

I have a copy of a "Jeffery's Guns 1910-11 catalog", purchased from another seller, who listed it as: "reprint?". I was surprised when I received it, as my overall impression was of an original item. Tan cover stock, -blue- single page half-sheet announcement page next inside, and then a full booklet with not a single added legal disclaimer notice anywhere identifying it as "this is a re-issue, printed by such and such publishers, 20xx, of original booklet, done 1910 by Jeffery's da da da.. "" or similar ; anywhere in the booklet.

I have a poor copy of a 1910 printing, missing the cover, blurb sheet, and first/last pages. I checked point after point of plate peculiarities and they seem to match everywhere, with only minor differences in some images. Which could be normal early vs late pressing states. But could also be original vs re-print versions. ... Which is why I researched the web, discovered your site, and wrote you.

Your web page that you referred me to states: "only a moron would mistake one of my reprints as being an original. A reprint of an old catalog is not an original any more than a first generation Peacemaker is lessened in value by Uberti reproductions."

As well intended and forthcoming as it is, that doesn't cover the situation in our current world. I am not a lawyer but have had enough experience in the business regarding copyright laws etc, what constitutes public domain from protected publication rights, and what skirts or crosses the line as forgery - whether intended or not - to know that your open statement is a troublesome one, no matter how innocent a picture you paint of the situation. There is a wide world of people unknowledgeable, untrained and unskilled in the craft of duplication. Someone somewhere who was not privy to what you do, or party to your upfront immediate transaction of reproduction items, will come across your pieces some fifty years from now - or today as I have - and think, because they've had no experience with true original documents, that what they hold in they hands -is- an original - and rush to sell it as such. All your good intentions and disclaimers for naught; and they find that a problem.

I won't belabor the topic any more, I know you understand what I'm writing about and how important it is. But I do need to ask you again, can you please tell me what indicators I can look to to distinguish your printing of the Jeffery's Guns 1910-11 catalog from an original? Did you place added reprint disclaimer anywhere that is clear and notable? Did you use plain white paper throughout in order to, as you wrote on your page, "I make no effort to use precisely the same paper, covers, inks, or even to duplicate the exact size of the originals. My reprints preserve firearm information only.", did you use different colored paper for the notice sheet?, (as in the copy I just acquired from another seller; not you), as I described above. And did you make the catalog exactly the same size? To the extent that I can compare the two items I have, they match in size, in print-point peculiarities, and so on. I can't see any major differences.

Since you are the expert in this craft and know what you re-printed, how you did it, what materials you used and the extent to which you 'preserved firearm information only', only you know what differences exist to distinguish an original from one of your products. I need your help to evaluate what I have. I see no other printers/publishers who offer this item. You are the only person with the answers I need. Thank you for your attention and assistance. I do look forward to your reply. Many thanks,

James Rose

James, I suggest you purchase a reprint from me, I offer over 3000 titles, and when you receive it you will be able to tell instantly that it is a reprint. Also, not to belabor the point, old catalogs were printed using hard type that leaves a solid imprint, my catalogs are laser reprinted which uses a dot matrix imprint- easy to discern with magnification. Don't worry, my meager efforts to preserve a small area of firearms history will not in any way depreciate the world-wide business of selling ephemera. Abby

Abby, I'm a book seller, not a collector. I don't want to chase/invest in another copy. Can you tell me how you bind/stitch the catalogs? Do you use a single staple for the text pages and double staple the covers on to that cluster? Are the staples 1/2" or 3/4"? Re 'dot matrix', on magnification, I'm not sure what you are describing, so don't know what to look for, to distinguish. No font images or gun images show dot pixillations like newsprint photos in this copy I'm trying to evaluate. James

James, Some are thermo-bound (a process only possible in the last couple of decades) some are folded and saddle-stapled all feature my logo/contact information (the little green box-see attached), Abby

Abby, That's exactly the kind of information that is helpful. I've gone through this catalog page by page and see no logo/contactbox anywhere in this copy. I can presume it's not one of yours then. That's what had/has me befuddled - not seeing any current-printer blurb somewhere - as a box, as a footnote disclaimer, as a re-print alert, or appropriate related notification of re-issue - anywhere. Thank you, Abby, for your time and responses. James

To see pages of Rants and Raves, and my replies, go to: RAVES and RANTS

Notes for New Readers (useful info repeated each month)

* The purpose of this section is to repeat in every newsletter some of the things I have said in past newsletters. By naming the section "Notes for New Readers", longtime subscribers may simply skip over it and read something new to them.

* Tired of SPAM? Virginia (our website guru from Carolina Web Creations) says:

1. Never use your real email address when signing up for stuff online. (ie: forums, purchases, etc.) There are many free email services out there (Google, Yahoo, Juno, etc.) where you can create an email address for your online activity. This will help ensure that your public email address is one you don't really care about, and will help keep your personal email address secure.

2. Use forwards cautiously - As much as we all like to entertain our friends with funny emails, cute links, and amazing videos, forwarding these things to your entire address book only add to the problem with email harvesters. While your address book may be clean and free of hackers, you can't guarantee that everyone receiving your forwarded email is as fortunate. Once you have forwarded that email (with all the addresses visible) and the recipient then forwards it to their address book, it's all downhill from there.

3. Use caution when visiting websites. Just because a site has appeared in the #1 position in Google doesn't mean it's a reputable organization. Web developers are savvy and are not only skilled at forcing a high ranking position in the search engines, but also at coding things to get what they want from those who visit their webpage.

4. If you get an email from someone you don't know, DO NOT OPEN IT. If you get an email from someone you know and the subject line is strange or inconsistent with something that you might normally receive from this person, DO NOT OPEN IT. And the most important - if you get an attachment from anyone with an extension of ".exe" - DO NOT OPEN IT! (.exe is an executable program, and once you double click on it, it will run some kind of program on your computer, usually designed to completely wipe out your hard drive, or something equally malicious.)

5. If you're interested in "cleaning up" your computer to remove possible spamware and malware, you can download programs like Spybot and Ad-Aware. I personally use both of these. Also, use caution when clicking advertisements - remember, these are ADS! They WANT you to click their ad and purchase their product and it's not always something "good for you".

There are many easy ways to reduce your risk of being a target for spam - education and understanding is a great first step.

* Paypal - I don't like Paypal and I don't think they make much of an effort to be less arrogant than they have been in the past, but, I use Paypal to process credit cards because they are cheaper by far than a bank for a small online business, They are reliable and they are secure. No, I don't like many of their policies but they are the least expensive I can find so we have to live with it. I do accept checks if you prefer and I don't wait for them to clear. If you stiff me with a check you go directly to the Rants and Raves column with your full name and address displayed for the world to see. By the way, Paypal has softened (somewhat) its previously hard line with respect to firearms and is now more reasonable.

* Ebay - The wizards at Ebay decided that they will no longer allow sellers to advertise that they will accept money orders or checks in payment for purchases made on Ebay. Customers may still pay that way but we cannot advertise the fact. I think the idea is to force people to use Paypal, which is owned by Ebay. Now, to be perfectly honest, I would be much happier if you bought things from my website Cornellpubs.com because that saves me sales commissions to Ebay!

* Hint- If you are using the browser Firefox and have trouble seeing any images on this website, try hitting the refresh button. Meanwhile I will continue trying to figure out how to make my website more compatible with the many different browsers out there.

* INDEXES for Every Catalog I reprint... Every catalog I offer has an index at the right of the page. Listings on Ebay, Gunbroker and Auction Arms also have indexes.

* More on Indexes: Not all my indexes are alphabetized and can be difficult to search. Until I find time to alphabetize all of them, hit the Control key (on the lower left) and the letter "F" on your keyboard. this will give you a little search box on the bottom of the screen. Start to type in the name of what you want to find on that page and it should be highlighted on the screen (this works with most browsers and on any web page). :-) Abby

At my website, you will find many gunmaker "master pages" listing all the catalog reprints of one brand. To the right of each "master page" are names of catalogs by merchants who carried that brand of firearms. For example, I reprint over 60 Remington factory gun catalogs but I also reprint over 160 gun catalogs from merchants that sold Remington firearms such as Sears or Abercrombie & Fitch or Spalding. Those are the listings on the right of the page.

Using the merchant links, you can identify a catalog from just about any year that displays the Remington line and by looking at the individual page indexes you can figure out what models were made in what year without spending a dime. Of course I would be happy to sell you those catalogs too! Most major gunmakers have a "master page" and I am adding more all the time. Just start with any category link: All Catalogs, 1835-1899, Ammunition or any other and you will find that the capitalized links indicate "master pages". When you select one you will see on the right, the links to the other merchants who sold that brand.

* I have some nifty tricks for you! If you have trouble reading small type on my website or any other, you can increase the size of the text on the screen by holding down the Control key (that's the one in the lower left of the keyboard with Ctrl on it) and scrolling the wheel on top of your mouse back and forth.

copy clips image

* Whenever I scan a delicate old catalog with its covers hanging by a thread (and not wishing to be the one who detaches someone else's covers), I line up a bunch of paper clamps along the hinge of the book to hold the covers in place and then scan each page. This simple technique works wonders and saves old paper from harm. It also gives you handles to pick up the book!

The picture shows my book scanner. When I use the book scanner, the catalog hangs over the side of the scanner and only needs to be opened 90 degrees. This allows much less stress to be placed on the spine.

So there you have it, a tip that I hope will result in a torrent of eager collectors now willing and eager to let me scan their old gun catalogs... but, please call or write first, don't just send them because I may already have scans of that particular item. I still have hundreds of old catalogs on file that I haven't got to yet.

* Gun Value & Parts - I get scores of phone calls that start out "I inherited this gun from my grandfather and I just want to know how much it is...", I do not do appraisals, nor do I sell parts. See here for parts suppliers.

Mike Rich, owner of I Have THIS OLD GUN, has been involved in firearms restoration and appraisal since 1962.  Although Mike specializes in appraising Early American “Doubles,” side-by-side shotguns and rare rifles, he also does firearm appraisals for most American made guns.  These appraisals are frequently used to establish value for insurance, estate sales and/or resolutions and for owner’s wanting to know “what’s it worth?”  Whether one gun or an arsenal, send Mike an email to get started. Prices for a written appraisal begins as low as $35.00.

* I often use the The Greenhill Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers by John Walter, Greenhill/Stackpole Books 2001 - ISBN 1-85367-392-7 to answer many of the questions I get each week about the origins of gunmakers. Like many all-encompassing works, some of the information may be inaccurate but over-all it contains a wealth of facts, dates and important history of great old companies. Each year you can buy the Standard Catalog of Firearms which lists most guns and their value used at Borders or Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.

* Why Buy Old Catalogs- originals or reprints? If you want to learn about a gun or gunmaker I applaud you, and am so happy you found my website. History is what I am working so hard to preserve by making old gun catalogs available to collectors and historians. Buy a catalog from a gunmaker of the appropriate year and you will learn a mountain of true facts about your gun- right from the maker's month, so to speak. Never again will you have to rely on hearsay or bluster.

*Research- To help you learn more about the history of gunmakers I have a page of what I call Reference Books on my website. They cover a wide range of information by authors and the page deserves a look. One of the most prolific authors of gun history was the late Joe Vorisek. I am fortunate to be the authorized only source of his gun histories. Joe even has his own webpage of all his histories.

* Browser Usage - Sometimes people mention they cannot follow the links I put in my newsletters, or that the pictures don't show up. Well, sometimes browsers are set to only receive messages in plain text. This is usually because their internet connection is slow and pictures make it even slower. There are settings to allow or disallow HTML language (pictures and links).

Your browser (the program you use to view emails and internet sites) can be set to allow you to click on links to other web pages. The link can either open a new window with the original window disappearing to a small block near the top of the screen or it replaces the current window with the new selection. In the former case to return to the prior window, click the box near the top of the screen. In the latter example click the "back arrow" also at the top of the page (different browsers such as Firefox, Netscape or Internet Explorer use different symbols for the back arrow). For the most part, I use links that replace the newsletter page with the new link. So, to return to the newsletter, you will have to use the back arrow to return to the newsletter.

* If you collect Military Arms please check out the link page I have to Government and Military Publications as well as 75 Manuals of the World's Military Weapons (1945) in A Basic Manual of Military Arms - 1945 as well as the link to Machine Guns.

* YOUR ADDRESS- Yes, I am shouting! Each month I get angry phone calls, emails or letters from folks who "ordered the book xxx days ago and STILL DON'T HAVE IT! Usually they don't have it because the registered address at the website where they ordered the book is false (to "protect" their identity) or long outdated. When I point that out, they usually say that I should have double-checked or that their correct address was on their check or some other excuse. Sorry, I print address labels from the website as you typed it in. If your address is wrong the book goes to the wrong address. Please check your address at the website whenever you order something online. Thank you.

* How to pay for things on the internet while using your credit card with some safety... There are two areas of concern when you make the decision to pay online with your credit card. First, you have to make certain the site accepting your credit card is secure. There are two clues to security. One is in the URL or site address found at the top of the browser. Normally the URL begins with http://www etc. but a secure site has a different beginning. It starts with https://www. etc. The "S" means the site is using encryption software and it is pretty safe to send your card information to the company. By the way, do not send your credit card information in an email. Emails are NOT secure!

Of course, the second consideration has to do with what the company does with the information, the company integrity.Be careful about companies you never heard of before, don't know where they are located and the website has no telephone number. Caveat emptor, buyer beware. That is one of the reasons I like to pay with Paypal. When you do that you are giving only an email address to the company, not your credit card number (Paypal hols that information for itself only).

Many folks call me to give me an order over the telephone because they "don't like to use their credit cards on the internet". So, a little more about credit cards and the internet. Every time you use your credit card at banks, gas stations, restaurants, stores and while browsing, the transaction is recorded on the internet! Small shops like ours carefully enter the information at a website belonging to a financial clearing house. Others, like Costco and Walmart are connected directly but they all go on the net.

What can you do to help make your credit cards safe? Know with whom you are dealing and what is happening when you hand over your card. Does a nervous and suspicious looking waiter disappear into the back room with your card? Hmmm. Does the gambling website where you are about to enter your card have no address, country or telephone number? Hmmm.

Parts Suppliers and Appraisers

Mike Rich, owner of I Have THIS OLD GUN, has been involved in firearms restoration and appraisal since 1962.  Although Mike specializes in appraising Early American “Doubles,” side-by-side shotguns and rare rifles, he also does firearm appraisals for most American made guns.  These appraisals are frequently used to establish value for insurance, estate sales and/or resolutions and for owner’s wanting to know “what’s it worth?”  Whether one gun or an arsenal, send Mike an email to get started. Prices for a written appraisal begins as low as $35.00.

We get hundreds of calls about parts.

Some folks are doing something about supplying parts...

Spare parts, accessories and original bayonets as well as complete original examples for all models of Ross Rifles- Barry DeLong  or 423-472-1972.

Hello Abby, I am responding to your request for parts source information for Remington Rolling Block Parts. We are attempting to supply reproduction parts needed to restore or rebuild the majority of models of rolling blocks made from 1867 onward. While this is a work in progress, I believe we are the largest supplier of these obsolete parts in existence. Thanks, Kenn Womack

Check out the Peter Dyson & Son Ltd. Co. of Yorkshire, England. They sell all kinds of parts and reproduction parts for antique arms. They have leather products, Damascus barrels and tubes, miniatures, used guns, air guns, reloading tools and much more.

Trapdoors Galore Email Address: 3240 W. Arby Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89118.   Phone No.  702-361-5322  Everything For The Trapdoors + Free Research On S/N's For The Trapdoor & Krag's

Joe Salter sells all sorts of things including butt plates, antique guns, collector ammo, air guns, holsters... well, check him out: Joe Salter

Phil Stewart sells parts, stocks and grips. He can be found at (740) 398-1941 in Mt. Vernon, OH.

The big parts houses for older guns are:

Jack First in Rapid City South Dakota their catalog (three volumes and over 2700 pages of invaluable information including parts diagrams) is available at (605) 343-9544 for $39.95

Gun Parts Corporation (Numrich) Kingston, New York (845) 679-2417. Well established with a good website.

Sarco Inc. Stirling, NJ (908) 647-3800 email

Bob's Gun Parts Po Box 200 Royal AR 71968 501-767-2750

Dixie Gun Works, Union City, TN (800) 238-6785

Provenance for Your Gun

Ever wonder who first purchased your gun or rifle or wished you had a certificate of origin? It could increase the value of your gun!

Sammy Baugh, or Eddie Dew or some other celebrity may have been the original buyer. Perhaps the provenance would increase the value of your favorite fowling piece or rifle. Well, now you have a chance to find out for free if the gun was sold by Von Lengerke & Detmold or Abercrombie & Fitch, two of the largest and most prestigious gun houses of the 20th century.

If you own a gun by one of dozens of manufacturers write down the serial number and compare it to the serial numbers at the G&H website:

or Contact:
Robert C. Beach, Records Research
Griffin & Howe, Inc.
33 Claremont Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Website: Griffin& Howe
(scroll down to see all the makes when you get there)

Serial Numbers and Corresponding Dates:

Gun sellers often give themselves a lot of latitude when claiming the provenance of weapons they sell. Age or factory modifications to the base model can add considerably to the value of any gun. The question repeatedly is- The Truth! Having a Serial Number from the gun in question can often lead you to the year it was manufactured and then to a catalog we reprint. This can be useful in determining how the factory intended to make guns... models, styles, calibers, engraving, checkering and options available.

To help you on your search I have put together a page on the website with links to websites that offer serial numbers and years of manufacture:


Original Gun Catalogs and Books for Sale

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Old Newsletters are Available Online

If you missed a newsletter or want to look up an old one, please go to my website Cornellpubs and look on the top of the first page for a link to old newsletters. You may view them online and in color with pictures. Also, on the subject of newsletters, I send out the newsletter in both HTML and plain text format. This means that if your browser is not set up to view pictures and colors, you automatically get the plain text version. I hope this explains why some of you don't see the pictures referred to in the letters - I know it has caused some confusion. Also, you should upgrade to the latest version of your browser for best results. To learn which version of you have, click the help button on the top line of this page and then look for the link that says "About [browser]".